Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Complete Streets Experts, and Fourth Graders, Call for Livable Streets in Hill Neighborhood

[Photo at left courtesy New Haven Independent.]

Experts aim for streets safe for all users, New Haven Register, 3/31/09:

The “complete streets” specialists visited the Hill Monday, scoping out ways to strike a balance among walkers, bikers and autos so they can all safely share the neighborhood’s main roads. Engineers from CHA, a consulting group, Ian Lockwood, an early guru of the “complete streets” movement and James Travers, deputy director of transportation for the city, led the short field trip for a handful of citizens and officials.

The aim is to make streets safer and more walkable through roundabouts, curb bump outs, tree plantings, on-street parking, bicycle lanes and even a raised intersection where needed, to slow down drivers. All of these things have the effect of calming traffic, Lockwood said. Basically, they act as visual clues to drivers to slow down, that they are in an urban environment. “It helps drivers behave themselves,” rather than necessitating more traffic police, he said.

Lockwood said the whole intersection at Congress and Howard avenues could be raised to slow traffic, something other states do around elementary schools as safety measures.

“Complete Streets” Begins in the Hill, New Haven Independent, 3/31/09:

Last year for their science project these three fourth-graders clocked an oil truck at 52 miles per hour and even a school bus racing at nearly 40 by their school, John C. Daniels Elementary. On Monday afternoon, they joined city officials and others on a “walking audit” of their Hill neighborhood to help planners calm traffic and make the streets safer for kids, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Near Congress and Howard, the crew paused to hear Lockwood suggest safety could be enhanced by the addition of bump-outs at bus stops, and lifting the crosswalk to the level of the sidewalk. “This ramping up puts motorists on the level of pedestrians. It also raises the heights of kids four to six inches when they cross, making them more visible, and therefore safer,” he said.

All along Congress, leading toward John C. Daniels School, Sousa suggested that long curb cuts, such as inappropriate driveways, most holdovers from a previous era when big trucks were making deliveries, should be eliminated. “You want to reward walking and incentivize it with sidewalks that attract pedestrians, not cars.”

The John Daniels students said their this year’s science project would be to expand their own traffic study from the immediate area of their school to all of the Hill.

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